Jury weighs death sentence for ex-cop

/ Source: The Associated Press

A jury began deliberating Tuesday whether to recommend the death sentence for a former police officer convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn daughter.

Bobby Cutts Jr. was led from the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies after the jurors began deliberations. The jury, which convicted Cutts earlier this month, broke for dinner and was to resume deliberations Wednesday.

A sobbing Cutts appealed to the jury Monday to spare his life. He said he took responsibility for the deaths of 26-year-old Jessie Davis and the couple’s unborn daughter last June.

Assistant Stark County prosecutor Dennis Barr told jurors Tuesday that the state had met its burden to prove that Cutts deserves to die.

“Bobby Cutts deserves the maximum sentence allowed by law in the state of Ohio. That’s the sentence of death,” Barr said.

But defense attorney Fernando Mack said execution would be inappropriate because it should be reserved for the “worst of the worst,” including serial killers, and “this is a situation that got out of hand.” He also argued that execution would leave the couple’s toddler son, Blake, an orphan.

“This penalty is to be used sparingly,” Mack said.

As the jurors began deliberating, the victim’s father, Ned Davis, sobbed quietly as he hugged the defendant’s mother, Renee Jones, in the courtroom.

Cutts, 30, was convicted of aggravated murder in the death of the fetus. He could receive the death penalty, life in prison without parole or life with parole eligibility after 20, 25 or 30 years.

Cutts pleads for life
If the jury recommends death, the judge can reduce the sentence to life, but that has happened just seven times in Ohio in 27 years.

Jurors found Cutts not guilty of aggravated murder in the death of Davis but convicted him of a lesser charge of murder in her death.

Cutts took the stand Monday to plead with jurors who convicted him. Sniffling and his voice wavering at times, he accepted responsibility for his crimes.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’m asking you to spare my life,” Cutts said in an unsworn statement, which exempted him from cross-examination by prosecutors.

Apologizing to the teary-eyed members of Davis’ family sitting in the front row, Cutts said he could not express in words how he felt knowing that he had killed her and the baby.

Prosecutors told the jury that Cutts killed Davis and the unborn baby at her Lake Township home to avoid making child support payments for the child.

Then-2½-year-old Blake, who was found home alone, gave investigators their first clues to his mother’s disappearance when he said, “Mommy’s crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy’s in the rug,” and later, “Daddy’s mad.”

For more than a week, Cutts denied knowledge of her whereabouts as thousands searched in the area. He finally led authorities to the body in a park, wrapped in a comforter.

Cutts, who also was convicted of abuse of a corpse, burglary and child endangering for leaving Blake alone, resigned as a patrolman from the Canton police department.